Carmakers look to hybrids to create buzz

Carmakers battle it out, PR plans' leaked to press, Levi's new marketing plan, and more.

Carmakers are battling it out for the top spot in the hybrid and fuel-efficient market, with a Honda exec admitting to BusinessWeek that Toyota's early strategy with Prius stole some of Honda's limelight.

The Washington Post reports on SmartCar, a new addition to the market since its US debut in January, and how it is marketed "as an eco-friendly vehicle that appeals to trendsetters of all ages and income levels." Meanwhile, three automakers' hybrids will reach a whole new level of branding as New York City's taxi drivers plan to go green, shuttling the city's harried masses around in environmentally-friendly yellow cabs.

Other consumers are looking for smaller vehicles -- hybrid or not -- to ease the effects of gas prices and dealerships are finding that consumers are still looking for luxury additions, even if it's not for an SUV.

Also:

A PR firm's detailed communications plan for the cruise industry wound up in the press via an errant e-mail.

The advertising industry is taking notice: consumers are sick of dubious green claims.

Fast-food restaurants push a message of quality to allay fears after the recent salmonella outbreak.

Levi's retooled its signature jeans into a standard fit across the world, and launched its first global marketing campaign.

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